Southern Oaks Farms
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​Whole and Half Sides of Beef for sale.

Buying Beef in Bulk - How Much Meat Will I Get?

If you are new to buying beef in large quantities, or even if you've done it once or twice you may find this review of the process  helpful.  The following are some definitions and a basic description of the butchering process as it affects the quantity of beef you will receive.

Live Weight vs Hanging Weight
Let's assume an average sized two year old steers weighs approximately 1000lbs;  that weight is called the "live weight".  Once the animal is slaughtered however, the skin, head, nonusable organs, and hooves are removed and the carcass is split down the middle and weighed, giving the butcher the "hanging weight" which is usually around 60% of the live weight.  The two sides are then hung in a cooler for 10 days to two weeks to age.  This improves tenderness, enhances flavor and also further reduces weight due to evaporation.

Hanging Weight vs Boxed Weight
After aging, each side is fabricated into individual retail cuts.  The weight after this process is called the "take home or retail weight."
It's important to know that after butchering, the take home weight will be
​serignificantly less than the hanging weight.  The percentage of the hanging weight that remains is called the "yield" for short and is generally around 60% of hanging weight.  This percentage varies based on a number of factors including:

1. Bone in vs boneless - This will dramatically affect yield;  the more boneless cuts that are made, the lower the yield.  It will not however significantly affect the actual amount of meat you receive.

2.  The amount of fat remaining on the meat cuts - The yield will vary based  on how much surface fat the cutter leaves on the cuts.

3.  Leanness of ground beef - If the ground beef is made very lean the yield will be less than if the ground is made with a higher percentage of fat.